Staff at the Pūkaha Wildlife Centre discovered five dead kiwi after resuming work under Level 3, the centre has confirmed.
Conservation work was not deemed essential during the five week lockdown so predator trapping came to a halt.
“Not taking away from others suffering because of the lockdown, but this is a big price for us to pay,” Pūkaha marketing advisor Alex Wall told 1 NEWS.
The reserve relies on predator trapping as its reserve isn’t fenced.
It’s believed the deaths are a result of ferret attacks and staff are concerned this is just the tip of the iceberg after no trapping for five weeks.
The news comes just ahead of the centre’s kiwi count.